Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for June 25, 2019

Newsline: Iran’s U.N. ambassador rules out talks with US

Iran’s U.N. ambassador warned on June 24 that the situation in the Persian Gulf is “very dangerous” and called talks with the U.S. impossible in the face of escalating sanctions and intimidation, while the U.S. envoy said the Trump administration’s aim is to get Tehran back to negotiations. Recent attacks on tankers and the downing of a U.S. drone played out in comments before and after a closed U.N. Security Council meeting called by the United States that provided sharply different views of the current situation. It took place hours after President Donald Trump signed an executive order targeting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and senior Iranian military figures with financial sanctions. (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/irans-un-ambassador-rules-out-talks-with-trump-administration-2019-06-24) Iranian Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi called the new sanctions another indication of “U.S. hostility” toward the Iranian people. He said the Trump administration should de-escalate tensions by stopping “its military adventurism” in the region, withdrawing its “naval armada” and moving away from “economic warfare against the Iranian people.” Acting U.S. Ambassador Jonathan Cohen outlined the U.S. case for blaming Iran for tanker attacks May 12 and June 13 and for shooting down a $100 million U.S. drone in international airspace June 20. Iran denies it attacked the tankers and says the drone was in its airspace.

Newsline: Vehicle packed with gas canisters crashes into US embassy in Seoul

A CAR filled with explosive gas has smashed into the US Embassy in Seoul just days before Donald Trump is due to visit. The motor reportedly made a sudden turn before smashing into the compound’s gates in the South Korean capital. A 40-year-old man, named locally as Park Mo, believed to be the driver, was detained following the incident which took place at around 6pm local time. (https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9369110/seoul-car-bomb-gas-canisters-crash-us-embassy-trump-visit-south-korea/) Police said the rental car suddenly turned right and slammed into the gates of the Embassy. After examining the car a box containing 30 butane canisters was found in the boot. South Korean police are now expected to consult with the US Embassy about strengthening the site’s security. They did not say whether or not the incident was being treated as an attempted attack.